1

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What would your ideal diet tracking software look like?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 03, 2013 at 7:41 AM

So I have been perusing the various "diet tracking software" that is available, and none of it works for me. Ideally, I'd like to track my diet for, say, a year, and find what relationship there is between, say, how much vitamin K I ate, or "greens", and "alertness". Or weight and total calories. Or any two variables. Tracking allergens, or even one particular product. And "actions" ... like, you could create a new exercise routine, then track what results it has. Like, if dairy gives you migraines (it does for me) the software should catch that.

I should say that I am a professional software developer, and we do a fair bit of data analysis. But the software available for "diets" isn't very good, IMO.

So what software I do see, is already geared for some bias, and some "reward system". Which is probably fine for people who aren't into tracking much of anything, it's a start! Also there is just loads of advertising built in. I'm looking for the next step, which is truly analyzing what HAPPENS when you change your diet.

I'm doing this now, for me. But is anyone else interested? I'd love to have feedback, as to what such a system should look like and how it should work.

If there is enough interest I guess it could be a website ... maybe go with Kickstarter ... but I can get it written mostly by myself I think, since I've done a lot of the work over the last few years.

So the question is: "What would your ideal diet tracking software look like?"

D8644ecc819aa7fb98ed93eece4befa2

(281)

on July 04, 2013
at 11:10 AM

Hi Heather, I'm a writer and communication consultant. I haven't found the right tracking tool either. I'd be interested in contributing, by designing a user interface that's fast and intuitive enough to be used on a daily basis.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on July 04, 2013
at 08:31 AM

@HeatherT OSS, yeah sorry wasn't thinking properly, it would be best as a web app. But export of data would be great.

4a48f15832929931dc1ecaf1eb380ebb

(13)

on July 04, 2013
at 07:18 AM

Thank you. I'll check it out.

4a48f15832929931dc1ecaf1eb380ebb

(13)

on July 03, 2013
at 11:05 PM

@AlohaSpeck: Open source is an idea, at least for the PC version. The web version would be a bit complex I think.

4a48f15832929931dc1ecaf1eb380ebb

(13)

on July 03, 2013
at 11:03 PM

So actually, when you look at it ... what would be neat is a timeline, with "events" that appear at certain times. The item could be "eating", in which case you have a food. Or "exercise", which would have an activity list. Or "environment", or drinking, or socializing, or symptom. Or "other". It ends up looking almost like an MRP system ... a thing built from other things ...

4a48f15832929931dc1ecaf1eb380ebb

(13)

on July 03, 2013
at 10:57 PM

The FDA database is downloadable, so using that as a start makes sense. I like the idea of it having "templates" of a sort, like WordPress does, so, say, "Paleo" eaters could have fields pre-set for fields that Paleo eaters care about. I also like the idea of having the option of keeping data local vs. "on the web" ... not everyone might like the idea of their private habits being in someone's database. I'm a software developer by trade, so yeah, I get all excited by defining the problem too ...

4a48f15832929931dc1ecaf1eb380ebb

(13)

on July 03, 2013
at 10:52 PM

That's pretty much where I'm leaning ... there is NO WAY any product that will foresee what someone else wants. But if someone wants to track, say "food color" or "freshness" that should be addable. Cooking style even. And notes, of course!

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on July 03, 2013
at 10:25 PM

@BGottfried cronometer actually has both of those features. You can define your own biometrics, though there are no optons for custom input widgets. You can also create new "foods" (where you enter all the nutrient information from scratch) or custom "recipes" (where you tell it the ingredients and quantities, and it combines them into a single item).

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 03, 2013
at 02:16 PM

create a customized recipe from base ingredients would help streamline the process of entering food. Were you planning on using a pre-existing food database or requiring users to manually add all the data for the food? If pre-existing, how do you plan to expand the data to cover data that users want to track (like K2 or trace minerals) that aren't found in most standard food databases? Sorry, I'm a database engineer by trade, so questions like that make giddy :P

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 03, 2013
at 02:14 PM

Customizable fields would be a huge step forward. Like the OP noted, there's not really an option out there if you want to track a self-reported thing like "bowel movements" or "energy levels". Maybe you could create some custom data styles: success/failure, ranking (1...n), etc and allow users to create a custom tracked item; it'd require them to log in each day and update those tracked items, but that might also help with compliance ;) Also, since most Paleo eaters cook (and I'm guessing most of us have found recipes we rely on pretty heavily), the ability to

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4 Answers

1
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on July 03, 2013
at 08:36 AM

Personally I track the effect my eating has on me in general. Just rounded calories for the day, whether I had diary/wheat/sugar or not, my libido, my mood, and what workout I did.

The main thing would be simplicity, and what would be a HUGE bonus would be custom fields to track and options to display data (charts, graphs, etc).

I tried http://daytum.com/ but gave up, it simply did not have the flexibility I wanted. Spotted http://42goals.com/ but I haven't tried it yet.

Create a super customisable tracking software and I'll be your biggest fan, make it open-source and I will take you out for dinner whenever you want.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on July 03, 2013
at 10:25 PM

@BGottfried cronometer actually has both of those features. You can define your own biometrics, though there are no optons for custom input widgets. You can also create new "foods" (where you enter all the nutrient information from scratch) or custom "recipes" (where you tell it the ingredients and quantities, and it combines them into a single item).

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 03, 2013
at 02:14 PM

Customizable fields would be a huge step forward. Like the OP noted, there's not really an option out there if you want to track a self-reported thing like "bowel movements" or "energy levels". Maybe you could create some custom data styles: success/failure, ranking (1...n), etc and allow users to create a custom tracked item; it'd require them to log in each day and update those tracked items, but that might also help with compliance ;) Also, since most Paleo eaters cook (and I'm guessing most of us have found recipes we rely on pretty heavily), the ability to

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 03, 2013
at 02:16 PM

create a customized recipe from base ingredients would help streamline the process of entering food. Were you planning on using a pre-existing food database or requiring users to manually add all the data for the food? If pre-existing, how do you plan to expand the data to cover data that users want to track (like K2 or trace minerals) that aren't found in most standard food databases? Sorry, I'm a database engineer by trade, so questions like that make giddy :P

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on July 04, 2013
at 08:31 AM

@HeatherT OSS, yeah sorry wasn't thinking properly, it would be best as a web app. But export of data would be great.

4a48f15832929931dc1ecaf1eb380ebb

(13)

on July 03, 2013
at 10:52 PM

That's pretty much where I'm leaning ... there is NO WAY any product that will foresee what someone else wants. But if someone wants to track, say "food color" or "freshness" that should be addable. Cooking style even. And notes, of course!

4a48f15832929931dc1ecaf1eb380ebb

(13)

on July 03, 2013
at 11:05 PM

@AlohaSpeck: Open source is an idea, at least for the PC version. The web version would be a bit complex I think.

4a48f15832929931dc1ecaf1eb380ebb

(13)

on July 03, 2013
at 10:57 PM

The FDA database is downloadable, so using that as a start makes sense. I like the idea of it having "templates" of a sort, like WordPress does, so, say, "Paleo" eaters could have fields pre-set for fields that Paleo eaters care about. I also like the idea of having the option of keeping data local vs. "on the web" ... not everyone might like the idea of their private habits being in someone's database. I'm a software developer by trade, so yeah, I get all excited by defining the problem too ...

4a48f15832929931dc1ecaf1eb380ebb

(13)

on July 03, 2013
at 11:03 PM

So actually, when you look at it ... what would be neat is a timeline, with "events" that appear at certain times. The item could be "eating", in which case you have a food. Or "exercise", which would have an activity list. Or "environment", or drinking, or socializing, or symptom. Or "other". It ends up looking almost like an MRP system ... a thing built from other things ...

0
Cf89b6767687599fbbd8733757b5f215

(120)

on July 04, 2013
at 07:20 PM

Maybe one day they will be able to adapt the software to include a chip which when inserted into the brain will determine the best possible foods to eat and have some mechanism to ensure you buy the correct foods This could be done online depending on your body type and requirements and then delivered to you directly.

If the chip were to sense deficiencies in your body via your blood works (which it took daily) it would then order foods which could be cooked the following day to compensate this. Better still why not an injection or tablet to fulfil all your daily requirements?

Bit scary really but i believe if you feel with your body instead of think then you can judge by your well being. There is no computer in exsistance which can assist this process

0
Ddd45bb2f21c2709e60202850c12ba79

on July 04, 2013
at 05:14 AM

I use VidaOne, which I really think is the best, having tried many. It has a desktop application (and phone apps that sync with desktop) which allows you to do extensive customization of foods, exercises, blood values, vital signs, body weight, body fat, supplements, sleep length and quality. You can add additional fields for your own purposes. I added energy level, focus, productivity, and my stress level to track. You can define macro ratios however you want and you can track vitamins and supplements extensively.

It also has a GPS module which will log duration, speed, and ascent, among other things. This has been a lot of fun to use to track my walking. There is a muscle map with exercises that you can use to set up exercise regimes. Weight and reps can also be logged.

I use it when I am trying to figure out what I'm doing right, or when things are not going so well with my health and fitness. It is well designed and set up in such a way that I don't feel obsessive logging things. I don't use it all the time, but it has collected enough data for me that some obscure but significant factors start showing up over time. It offers a variety of charts. It is very helpful for communicating with doctors.

My current goal in using VidaOne is to figure out how many supplements I can stop taking, i.e. micronutrient tracking for foods.

It's an excellent feedback system. I have some sort of inflammatory condition, never really diagnosed, and the VidaOne app really helps me see where my food and fitness habits are helpful or harmful.

I highly recommend it, especially for anyone who has medical conditions or is just a fitness data freak.

http://vidaone.com/

4a48f15832929931dc1ecaf1eb380ebb

(13)

on July 04, 2013
at 07:18 AM

Thank you. I'll check it out.

0
67871ef2326f29da48f1522827fc0f80

(704)

on July 03, 2013
at 03:23 PM

I've used several pay version or paper (journal). It's necessary with autoimmune (and after 2 years of elimination testing with my doctor, it's just 'normal' to track nutrition).

I always go back to myfitnesspal.

It's free. There's a companion app, if you want it. You can set your own macros and you can easily get 90 day reports to check your nutrients. I've used it now for several years.

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